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  • 1. Ecke, Frauke
    et al.
    Mahani, Seyed Alireza Nematollahi
    Evander, Magnus
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Microbiology, Section of Virology.
    Hörnfeldt, Birger
    Khalil, Hussein
    Wildfire-induced short-term changes in a small mammal community increase prevalence of a zoonotic pathogen?2019In: Ecology and Evolution, ISSN 2045-7758, E-ISSN 2045-7758, Vol. 9, no 22, p. 12459-12470Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Natural disturbances like droughts and fires are important determinants of wildlife community structure and are suggested to have important implications for prevalence of wildlife-borne pathogens. After a major wildfire affecting >1,600 ha of boreal forest in Sweden in 2006, we took the rare opportunity to study the short-term response (2007-2010 and 2015) of small mammal community structure, population dynamics, and prevalence of the Puumala orthohantavirus (PUUV) hosted by bank voles (Myodes glareolus). We performed snap-trapping in permanent trapping plots in clear-cuts (n = 3), unburnt reference forests (n = 7), and the fire area (n = 7) and surveyed vegetation and habitat structure. Small mammal species richness was low in all habitats (at maximum three species per trapping session), and the bank vole was the only small mammal species encountered in the fire area after the first postfire year. In autumns of years of peak rodent densities, the trapping index of bank voles was lowest in the fire area, and in two of three peak-density years, it was highest in clear-cuts. Age structure of bank voles varied among forest types with dominance of overwintered breeders in the fire area in the first postfire spring. PUUV infection probability in bank voles was positively related to vole age. Infection probability was highest in the fire area due to low habitat complexity in burnt forests, which possibly increased encounter rate among bank voles. Our results suggest that forest fires induce cascading effects, including fast recovery/recolonization of fire areas by generalists like bank voles, impoverished species richness of small mammals, and altered prevalence of a rodent-borne zoonotic pathogen. Our pilot study suggests high human infection risk upon encountering a bank vole in the fire area, however, with even higher overall risk in unburnt forests due to their higher vole numbers.

  • 2. Truchy, Amelie
    et al.
    Göthe, Emma
    Angeler, David G.
    Ecke, Frauke
    Sponseller, Ryan A.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
    Bundschuh, Mirco
    Johnson, Richard K.
    McKie, Brendan G.
    Partitioning spatial, environmental, and community drivers of ecosystem functioning2019In: Landscape Ecology, ISSN 0921-2973, E-ISSN 1572-9761, Vol. 34, no 10, p. 2371-2384Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Context: Community composition, environmental variation, and spatial structuring can influence ecosystem functioning, and ecosystem service delivery. While the role of space in regulating ecosystem functioning is well recognised in theory, it is rarely considered explicitly in empirical studies.

    Objectives: We evaluated the role of spatial structuring within and between regions in explaining the functioning of 36 reference and human-impacted streams.

    Methods: We gathered information on regional and local environmental variables, communities (taxonomy and traits), and used variance partitioning analysis to explain seven indicators of ecosystem functioning.

    Results: Variation in functional indicators was explained not only by environmental variables and community composition, but also by geographic position, with sometimes high joint variation among the explanatory factors. This suggests spatial structuring in ecosystem functioning beyond that attributable to species sorting along environmental gradients. Spatial structuring at the within-region scale potentially arose from movements of species and materials among habitat patches. Spatial structuring at the between-region scale was more pervasive, occurring both in analyses of individual ecosystem processes and of the full functional matrix, and is likely to partly reflect phenotypic variation in the traits of functionally important species. Characterising communities by their traits rather than taxonomy did not increase the total variation explained, but did allow for a better discrimination of the role of space.

    Conclusions: These results demonstrate the value of accounting for the role of spatial structuring to increase explanatory power in studies of ecosystem processes, and underpin more robust management of the ecosystem services supported by those processes.

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